AEOI Chief Says Iran’s Nuclear Program Strong

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said he hoped the atomic deal between Tehran and world powers survives, but warns the program will be in a stronger position than ever if not.

AEOI Chief Says Iran’s Nuclear Program Strong

Salehi also told the AP in an exclusive interview Tuesday in Tehran that the "consequences will be harsh" if there are any new attacks targeting Iran's nuclear scientists.

He further said that US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw America from the 2015 accord "puts him on the loser's side" of history.

He added, "That deal could have paved the way for building the trust and the confidence that we had lost."

"I think (Trump) is on the loser's side because he is pursuing the logic of power," Salehi said. "He thinks that he can, you know, continue for some time but certainly I do not think he will benefit from this withdrawal, certainly not."

Salehi spoke about Iran's efforts to build a new facility at Natanz's uranium enrichment center that will produce more advanced centrifuges.

"If we have to go back and withdraw from the nuclear deal, we certainly do not go back to where we were before," Salehi said. "We will be standing on a much, much higher position."

On May 8, the US president pulled his country out of the JCPOA, which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

Following the US exit, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.

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